25 November, 2020

The Mysterious World Of Viruses And Why You Can't Escape Them

A glimpse into virosphere -- that mysterious cusp between life and non-life -- will tell us they are part of us, within us, and wrote us into being

The Mysterious World Of Viruses And Why You Can't Escape Them

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi was a giant of twentieth century science. His discoveries on Vitamin C, the Krebs cycle and how our muscles function are part of textbooks of biochemistry.  He once wrote how, in his search for a picture of life, the torch-light slipped over the very edge of being: “I started with anatomy, then shifted to function, to physiology, and studied rabbits. But then I found rabbits too complicated and shifted to bacteriology...later I found bacteria too complicated and shifted to molecules and began to study chemistry.... I ended with electrons which have no life at all—molecules have no life—so life ran out between my fingers actually while I was studying it, trying to find it...”

Szent-Gyorgyi was not alone in this. The boundary that separates the non-living from the living—that mysterious cusp—is a real one, but trying to put that knife-edge under a microscope can actually impede understanding life on this blue planet. Take the most abundant biological entities of nature—viruses. The sheer number and diversity...



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